On Saturday February 26th, the Premier League witnessed one of its most harmonic cheers, heard all across the globe. The day marked the remarkable return of Danish superstar Christian Eriksen, making his debut for Brentford after suffering a heart attack during Euro 2020 for his native Denmark. For Bees fans, it was a momentous occasion. But Eriksen played it cool, almost as though it was just another day at the office.
Although he's not currently in the Premier League, James Tarkowski remains one of the best value-buys the league has to offer, and should be destined for a move back into the big time. Here is what makes Tarkowski so remarkable, why every Premier League club should be taking interest, and which clubs rank as the best suitors for the 29-year-old.
For two seasons in a row now at Eintracht Frankfurt, Obite Evan Ndicka has been one of the best centre-backs in the Bundesliga. A massive factor behind Frankfurt's fifth place finish in 2020-21 under Adi Hütter, followed by a stunning UEFA Europa League final charge in 2021-22, Obite Evan Ndicka is starting to now receive deserved attention as one of the most promising defenders in world football. With an eye for a goal, fantastic timing of decisions at the back, phenomenal dueling ability, and pace to sweep in behind defensive mistakes, all top European clubs should be tracking Ndicka's progress at Frankfurt this season. But mysteriously, very few seem to be circling around the 22-year-old, and most clubs in need of a centre-back appear to have their eyes set on other targets. So with that, we attempt to find Obite Evan Ndicka's next club, if a move were to be made ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
Famous for their stunningly sound recruitment of young players, Borussia Dortmund have carried on the trend of snapping up some of the Bundesliga's best with their latest signing of SC Freiburg's Nico Schlotterbeck. The 22-year-old has been one of the best defenders in Germany this season, growing immensely from his 2020-21 campaign with Union Berlin, and massively developing his all-around game. Now one of the most accomplished defenders in a variety of categories, Dortmund were right to swoop in for a minimal €20 million fee. So with that, we analyze what Nico Schlotterbeck will bring to Borussia Dortmund ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
The Portuguese forward has scored 5 headed goals at Liverpool this season, and 5 for Portugal in World Cup Qualification. Very few forwards on the planet can claim a better record this season, raising the question - how does a 5'10 false-nine-left-wing hybrid score so many headed goals?
After breaking onto the scene with FK Molde in 2018, Erling Haaland has had a quick rise to becoming one of the very best footballers on the planet now in 2021, at the tender age of twenty years old. This season the Norwegian striker has taken his game to new heights, scoring a remarkable thirty-two goals in twenty-eight matches across all competitions. He's particularly impressed in the UEFA Champions League, leading Dortmund into the Quarter Finals with ten goals in six matches so far. Here is a tactical analysis of one of the greatest phenoms in the history of the Bundesliga - Erling Haaland.
Sean Dyche's Burnley have managed to stay in the Premier League for five seasons in a row now, even reaching the Europa League in 2017-18. Despite that, many providing commentary over the game consistently pick the Clarets as favourites to go down each and every single season. In reality, Burnley never look in any danger of going down. This season it appears as though it's going to be another one in which Sean Dyche's men will steer clear of the drop with relative ease. Dyche's men play a gritty, unconventional brand of football, and their resilient 4-4-2 low-block has troubled even the best of teams and managers. Most recently, they became the first side to win at Anfield for over a thousand days. Here is an updated tactical analysis of Sean Dyche's Burnley, their tried and tested 4-4-2 system and their compact, long-ball style of play in 2020-21.
Although Fulham currently sit in the relegation zone, it could be argued that Scott Parker's start to his managerial career could hardly have gone better. After retiring from the game in 2017, Parker took over toward the tail-end of their horrendous 2018-19 season. He then secured the full-time managerial role for the start of the 2019-20 EFL Championship season, earning promotion via the playoffs in his first season at the club. Although 2020-21 might end in relegation, Scott Parker has immensely improved Fulham from the last time they were in the league and has kept them within a fighting chance of survival throughout the season. This is a tactical analysis of Scott Parker's Fulham.
Recently, I did a second Aston Villa Tactical Analysis discussing how Dean Smith's side went from narrowly escaping relegation in 2019-20 to now being genuine contenders for the Europa League in time for next season. The same could be said of West Ham United. Although David Moyes' side escaped relegation by a greater margin, they've also been better than Villa by a narrow margin again this season, just in a much different place in the table for both. Like Aston Villa, West Ham United are also contenders for a place in next season's Europa League with their performances in the league in 2020-21. With Villa being one of their top challengers for a top six finish, doing the double over the Lions has also boasted well for the Hammers as they go into the final third of the season. Here is a tactical analysis of West Ham United since they shifted from a 5-4-1/3-4-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1.
After a slow start to the season, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are flying high and look like the most realistic title contenders as things stand. The Citizens have won their last eleven matches in all competitions, keeping eight clean sheets along the way. Interestingly enough, they've been playing without a natural striker for the majority of their unbeaten run, making Pep Guardiola's side all the more tactically intriguing at the moment. With inverted fullbacks, possession-based football and goals galore, Manchester City have been a joy to watch in recent months. This is our latest Tactical Analysis into the mind of Pep Guardiola.
Few clubs over the past decade have developed as succinct of a style of play as Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid. The 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 formations have practically become synonymous with Simeone's side, as he's taken Atletico to two Champions League finals and one La Liga title. Although 2019-20 hasn't been the best of seasons for Los Rojiblancos, they've continued their usual defensive prowess, conceding the second least amount of goals this season in La Liga and beating Liverpool in both Champions League Group Stage encounters. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Diego Simeone's 4-4-2 system and hard-working Atletico Madrid team.
For whatever reason, at the start of the season, Burnley are often a seen as a favourite for relegation. Despite that, and despite their cast and crew (manager included) not being the most star-studded, they've continuously steered clear of relegation from the Premier League since their promotion in 2016. Since said promotion, Burnley have finished as high as 7th place in the table and even enjoyed a brief spell in the Europa League, despite never playing the most flashy brand of football. Sean Dyche and his team play a gritty, unconventional brand of football, and their resilient 4-4-2 low-block has troubled even the very best of teams and managers. Perhaps more impressively in the current time, Burnley have now gone 7 games unbeaten in the Premier League, allowing Sean Dyche to claim his second ever Manager of the Month Award in February 2020. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Sean Dyche's 4-4-2 system and compact style of play with Burnley F.C.